Tuesday, 21 June 2011



I know this blog is meant to be about food and drink but as I was walking passed number 10 in Cecil Court on my way to DINNER with some friends (seamless) I was captivated by what looked like a mechanical arm in the process of drawing. At the back of the space there were some line drawing portraits of people, so it didn't take a genius to figure out what the mechanical arm was doing. So impressed by this, I went in and met the artist a Mr P.A. Tresset who explained that he had written the programme for the computer by studying how people drew. The whole process takes about half an hour after he has taken a picture of you. So if you are going to one of the myriad of restaurants in the area, why not take time out and have a portrait done. Cost in the region of £30. Money well spent in my opinion. And on that note I am going to copy and paste directly from his website so you get the true meaning.

Tenderpixel is proud to present Patrick Tresset's newest work at the crossing of art, robotics and computing. This work is supported in part by a Leverhulme Trust grant held at the Computing Department, Goldsmiths College, University of London. Tresset uses what he calls "clumsy robotics" to create autonomous cybernetic entities that are playful projections of the artist. For his Tenderpixel exhibit, Tresset will present three robotic installations that each embody the draughtsman as a single minded entity that draws to let time flow.

Gallery visitors will be able to have their face sketched by Tresset's robots. For Tresset, his cybernetic face-sketcher does not pretend to be human. It is only an obsessive drawing entity. It has "eyes" linked to an artificial mind which imperfectly simulates a small part of Tresset's abilities. Its singular drawing arm has limited freedom of gestures which makes it only able to apply simple tracing and erasing actions. Yet, it is capable of displaying attention and purpose when focusing on a sitter or their image and drawing their face in a style akin to Tresset's own panoply. The impact of intention is even more striking if the action slightly fails, such as when the arm is attempting to draw a straight line but not managing to perfectly do so.

Patrick Tresset is currently a researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London. After an interruption of almost seven years in his artistic practice, Tresset has found his medium of expression by diverting his on-going academic research he conducts in collaboration with Prof. Frederic Fol Leymarie from the Department of Computing. Their Aikon-II project investigates the sketching activity through computational modeling and robotics. Aikon-II is currently in part funded by the Leverhulme Trust
(www.leverhulme.ac.uk) Aikon has received in the past year notable media attention including from the BBC, Wired, Blueprint, New Scientist, El-Mundo (www.aikon-gold.com)

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